You know that guilt we carry around while going through infertility treatments? The part where we second guess each choice and worry that we’ve messed something up? I wrote about one of my guilt stricken moments a while back during who knows which round of IVF. That guilt doesn’t simply go away with a big fat positive (BFP), I think it just morphs into something new. Maybe even something similar to survivor guilt.
Let’s talk about that.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a woman who is pregnant after IVF express guilt over complaining about anything pregnancy related. Just the other day I was reading a post from a woman who was struggling with guilt because she felt bad over the fact that she wanted to complain about throwing up multiple times per day, everyday. Let me repeat that. This poor woman is vomiting her guts out repeatedly every freaking day, and she felt like she was being ungrateful if she let on that she wasn’t loving “puke fest 2018”. Wait, what?!
So I’m just going to say it. Just because we are pregnant after struggling long and hard with infertility, doesn’t mean that we should love pregnancy symptoms. And just because we don’t like nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, etc., does NOT mean that we are ungrateful to be pregnant. We are grateful. And we are so very sad and empathetic toward all the women continuing to fight the infertility battle.
But still, pregnancy symptoms are just as hard for us as they are for our fertile sisters. And they get to complain without the added guilt. In fact, they get sympathy for their symptoms. And so should we. Throwing up is not fun for anyone, regardless of how badly you wanted that baby or how long you tried.
It’s okay to not like this part. So let’s let the guilt go, ladies. You can be miserable during the first trimester, and any other part if it fits. You earned it. In fact, you went to hell and back to get here.
We spend so much time, effort, and money chasing that BFP that we sometimes begin to idealize what it will finally be like when we become pregnant. We paint this pretty picture in our minds filled with rainbows in the sky, glitter raining down upon us, our baby bumps growing round while the rest of our body glows like a magical earth goddesses, while we hold picture perfect yoga poses, and lovingly chuckle at our partners as they struggle to assemble the perfect crib. Oh and we’re craving nothing but veggies and fruit.
Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen.
So when early pregnancy isn’t quite what you imagined it would be during the years you were trying to conceive, please don’t beat yourself up over it. Let the guilt go! You have the right to be heard and to feel what you feel. Guilt free. Yes, you definitely earned it.
The guilt thing carries through to parenthood too. Apparently we aren’t allowed to complain about the troubles of parenthood either!
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That is so true!
Caro Cuckoo said:
I find this with being a parent too. The effects of infertility linger long after the BFP or baby arrives. I’m getting better (!) but I’ve struggled so much with feelings of guilt when I’ve become frustrated by my child, lost patience, complained or am simply not the parent I dreamed I would be to my miracle child. I’m learning I’m human, like every other mother out there, and am trying not to beat myself up, with guilt, when I’m not perfect – which is most of the time! Infertility leaves a shadow on your life and whilst I embrace mine and am proud of what I went through to get my son, it can also be a heavy burden to bear in every day life.
Wishing you all the luck in your pregnancy and the freedom from guilt to have a good ole moan if you need one! X
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I completely agree with you. I’ve really struggled with adjusting to motherhood and changing my expectations. I think part of the issue is that there isn’t much real talk about parenting and the associated challenges. Social media often supports the portrayal of picture perfect families. For the first couple years after having my daughter I wondered why I was so bad at it and through there was something wrong with me or my connection to my child. Then I started having some real conversations with other moms that I know, and was actually pretty surprised by what they said. They sounded just like me. One friend, who’s daughter is a teen now, said that the worst year of her life was when her daughter was 3. She thought she was going to lose it. I felt much relieved to hear that I wasn’t alone. And I think you are completely correct – the ghosts of infertility compound the issue because we have the added guilt of feeling bad for feeling bad since we worked so hard to make these miracles. It’s gotten better since changing my expectations, but some days I still need the reminder.
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